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Memories & Candles

“Shirley was my postmistress while in Wilmington...she bowled w/ husband w/ postal groups. Enjoyed her kind ways which made it easier to enjoy work....Read More »
1 of 3 | Posted by: Arnie Samson - Townsend, DE

“Our thoughts are with you, Michael, Heather and Emily. ~ Mike, Jodi, Matthew & Rachel ”
2 of 3 | Posted by: Mike Briggs - Chantilly, VA

“Shirley and Burt were among the first people we met when we moved to DE in 1991. They introduced my husband, Bob Netherland, and me to a number of...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Mary Richards - Newark, DE


Age 78, of Wilmington, died Monday January 26, 2009.

A loving wife, mother, and grandmother, Shirley was also an accomplished public servant. She attended the University of South Dakota, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science in 1952 and a J.D.in 1954. Shirley was the only woman in her Law School Class and upon graduation became one of only about 15 women in the State then admitted to the Bar. She practiced law and served as Deputy States Attorney for Union County, S.D. In 1956, Shirley began a 30 year career of Federal Service, starting as a Management Intern in the Department of the Air Force, and eventually becoming the General Manager of the Retail Operations Division for the US Postal Service. In 1979, she entered the Postal Executive Service in order to obtain field operations experience. Among her assignments, she then served as Postmaster of Wilmington and Sectional Center Manager for Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland from 1981 to 1985, becoming the first woman to hold that position.

Shirley retired in 1987 and her love of Delaware and its people brought her back to Wilmington where she was active in many charitable endeavors. An admitted political junkie, she served on the board of the League of Women Voters, and volunteered for numerous democratic candidates, among them now V.P. Joe Biden, for whom she had particular admiration. Shirley also enjoyed ballroom dancing and was an officer of the De La Warr Cotillion.

Shirley was preceded in death by her college sweetheart and husband of 50 years, Burton McDonald. Survivors include a son, Michael; 2 granddaughters, Heather and Emily; a brother, Roger Begeman, and 2 nieces and 2 nephews.

The funeral service will be held 10:30 am, Monday, February 2nd at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 1700 Limestone Rd., Stanton, where visitation will begin at 10am. The internment will be private.

The family suggests contributions in Shirley's memory to the Alzheimers Association, 2306 Kirkwood Hwy., Wilmington, DE 19805 or at www.alz.org.

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